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Ten Beliefs of High-Performing Educators

In the world of education, there are amazing teachers and leaders transforming classrooms and schools every day. On the other hand, there are just as many, if not more, failing at the very same mission, and often times working just as hard! It’s not luck, nor a secret to the success of the aforementioned, but rather a defined set of beliefs that drive their actions, structures, strategies and relationships. And none of us chose a career in education to be anything less than a Transformative Educator.

When dissecting what a Transformative Educator believes, we set out to examine how we train educators every day. The below list captures 10 beliefs that one must BE to transform the lives of students. In order to create a real paradigm shift in a classroom or school, you must be willing embrace and practice each of them, collectively. They each play a critical role in defining the overall DNA of a Transformative Educator. Click each of the links for a full article analysis.

  1. Be Precise and Explicit
  2. Be Willing to Not Wait
  3. Be Asset Based
  4. Be Willing to Take Responsibility
  5. Be Willing to Work with Families
  6. Be Real
  7. Be Efficient
  8. Be Willing to Have Favorites
  9. Be Willing to Unpack
  10. Be Transparent and Reflective


Belief #1: Be Precise and Explicit

Precision is key. Great educators know that clarity involves defining movement, volume, participation, time and materials. Most importantly, they are willing to practice the art of delivery. “If directions are not precise, the student outputs can misinform both teacher perception and student efficacy.”

– Norman Merrifield via It’s Not The Students…It’s Us

Belief #2: Be Willing to Not Wait

“When messaging to scholars that a teacher will “wait” for the last few scholars to follow their Precise Directions, they inadvertently convey a lack of urgency. Waiting creates a classroom where it is acceptable to shave minutes off learning activities that ultimately short-changes scholars.” This doesn’t mean we leave students behind, bur rather, we narrate the positive behaviors students are exhibiting to build strategic momentum in the classroom.

– Dr. Michael Prada via We Don’t Wait, We Narrate!

Belief #3: Be Asset-Based

The change process can be slow and frustrating, and one can easily get lost in the whirlwind of drama, gossip, challenge and bureaucracy that often plague school buildings and district offices. “Focusing on the positive over the negative is beneficial to both our students and our own well-being as educators. By noticing and verbally acknowledging the positive over the negative, our thoughts become more positive, our actions more caring, and our presence more joyous.”

– Dr. Richard Frank via The Power of Positive Narration

Belief #4:Be Willing to Take Responsibility for Every Student in their Care

This is the art of building relationships at such a deep level, that you’re willing to do whatever it takes. “The No-Nonsense Nurturer® takes a stand by reflecting deeply on what it truly means to nurture scholars – and cares enough to create environments of belief and high expectations for each individual undergirding those beliefs with structures of purposeful support…Sometimes,whatever it takesincludes setting limits and establishing a system of consequences. That’s part of the nurturing process….To truly nurture implies the creation of an environment of high expectations coupled with purposeful support.”

– Dr. Michael Prada via The Complexity of Nurturing and Showing We Care

Belief #5: Be Willing to Work with Families

“Many family members want to help, but don’t know how or what to ask. As educators, we are in a prime position to provide help to families who don’t know how to advocate for their child’s education.”

– Dr. Carolyn Reedom via Building Relationships with Families


Belief #6:
Be Real

The last thing our students need – is for another adult to sugar-coat the reality of life and the impact that an amazing education can have in changing their trajectory. “The ultimate lesson here is that the work of an educator truly is about life and death – real lives, real deaths – and showing students how to navigate the “booby trapped road”, not get consumed by it.”

– Karen Smith via Do You Care Enough To Save A Life?

Belief #7: Be Efficient

Great educators capture every opportunity to build meaningful relationships. From a hallway greeting, to a smile to a quick personal chat – they take advantage of every moment. “Leveraging those 30-second or less moments can build into a lifetime of close connections.”

– Eyka Stephens via Building Relationships in 30 Seconds or Less

Belief #8: Be Willing to Have Favorites

So many educators were told during our college training experiences to never have favorites. In fact – it’s just the opposite, but with purpose defined. “Find the kid or kids that are struggling – falling through the cracks – and make them your “favorites”. Make sure in your class they succeed.”

– CEO, Dr. Kristyn Klei Borrero via Letter To A New Teacher

Belief #9: Be Willing to ‘Unpack’

This is the collaborative practice of coaching versus giving directives. Unpacking creates ownership, identifies root cause analysis and builds motivation. It takes courage. I found that it’s most important to unpack mindsets through questioning techniques that get them to reflect on how their practice impacts students’ lives daily, and for the future in order for change to be effective and ultimately systemic.”

– Karen Baptiste via A Paradigm Shift to Transformative Coaching

Belief #1o: Be Transparent and Reflective

“When teachers and students acknowledge their mindsets, it opens the door for authentic communication and then the demonstration of care is possible. When people “get real”, transparency is called into action and that permits us to interact with each other in an empowering way.”

– Vynesha Johnson via An Educator’s Plea for Transparent Reflection

All of the above 10 beliefs fold seamlessly into the Mindset of a No-Nonsense Nurturer. Do you practice all 10 of these beliefs on a regular basis? Which do you not understand or need support with? Reach out to our team at CTTT with questions and feedback.

by William Sprankles, Associate
Center for Transformative Teacher Training
@wsprankles

William is an innovator with a remarkable journey in urban education. He has a dynamic background in which he experienced the strategic change process as teacher, coach, and administrator.

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